Too much stress can shorten your life. Unfortunately, that is a fact. But how exactly will long-term bodily and mental tension lessen your life span? By sheer force of stress and rage-filled outbursts? Or with a gentle, yet resigned sigh?
Well here, to answer these burning questions, is every excruciating effect stress has on your body on a daily basis...
1. It could make PMS worse
Excess worry can exacerbate cramping, bloating, and rollercoaster emotions, according to the American Psychological Association.
2. It can wreak havoc with your digestion
Suffering from tummy rumbles and severe bloating? This could be because we care too much and want to do well at our jobs while also balancing our personal lives and other interests, which, if extreme, could also cause ulcers or constipation/ diarrhoea.
3. It messes with your blood sugar levels
Especially bad news if you're inclined to Type 2 diabetes. This is because when you've got a deadline looming on a big project you haven't started yet, your body produces stress hormones. Meanwhile, your liver produces more glucose to give you the energy to "fight or flight;" most people's bodies can reabsorb the blood sugar, but if you're at risk for Type 2 diabetes, this is not good news.
4. It can make you feel faint
With an increased heart rate and stress hormones coursing through your body, you're putting your heart through a lot, which, over time, could increase your risk of heart attack or stroke, or even high blood pressure.
5. It's painful
Tense muscles, headaches, clenched jaw... While our bodies were built with mechanisms to cope with chaotic events and having to react quickly to them, they were not meant to be in such a state all the time. That's where chronic pain comes in.
6. It could lead to problems in the bedroom
As in, low libido...
7. And to top it all off: Spots
Stress is tragic for one's complexion too. Blame it on the stress hormone cortisol again.
But there is hope...
As it is deeply unhelpful to tell a person with anxiety or depression to 'cheer up' or 'relax', the same goes for anyone who's ever been stressed. But remember that not all stress is bad - it can motivate you to do another practice interview with a friend that lands you a great job, and it could even save your life.
So learn to embrace it, manage it, and reduce it. And never be afraid to ask for help from your GP.
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